Future of Engineering

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Miracle Material Shields Against X-ray And Gamma Emissions

Exposure to ionizing radiation is considered to be dangerous for humans. But all humans are exposed to some radiation simply by living on earth. When an exposure occurs over an extended period of time, it is referred to as "Chronic Exposure". This can be reduced by creating a barrier between the radiating source and the individual known as shielding.

Radiation Shield Technologies (RST) has achieved a breakthrough in personal radiation protection using nanotechnology. This revolutionary technology is currently produced as full body suits, gloves and boots and is marketed under the name Demron, but is commonly known as the miracle material.

Demron not only protects against particle ionizing/nuclear radiation (such as Beta and Alpha), but does what no other full body radiation protection can do: shield against X-ray and low-energy Gamma emissions. Demron is also non-toxic and completely Lead-free.

Lead aprons are used currently by medical professionals. But it tends to crack when bent or folded. Demron rectifies all these problems and ensures protection for the wearer.

The only downside is the weight of the material - a 36” x 30” blanket weighs approximately 60 lbs.

Source - Radiating Shield Technologies
Read the report of the test here.

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Fireproof Wool Clothing Offers Protection Against Fire Related Injuries

One fine day Jeanette received a request from the U.S. military. No, she wasn't entrusted to save the world single handedly from the bad guys. She had to find a heat-resistant material that can be worn by the troops. With great determination she embarked on this interesting mission.

Now Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemist Jeanette M. Cardamone has discovered and patented a heat-resistant material that can be incorporated into wool and other fabrics to match the flame resistance of commercial firefighters' uniforms.

Earlier she had created the "biopolished" wool that is both machine-washable and itch-free. Now, " working with visiting scientist Anand Kanchagar, Cardamone improved the flame retardancy of the biopolished wool by treating it with a heat-resistant polymer that is stable, easy to process and highly tolerant of extreme temperatures.Early tests have shown that the burning behavior of the polymer-treated ARS wool compares to a 50/50 blend of wool with Nomex, the fabric currently used in protective firefighting gear."

Synthetic materials can stick on to the wound, whereas wool turns to ash. This makes it an ideal choice for the troops and firefighters. Biopolished wool aims to make the attire much safer. Currently they are collaborating with interested companies to enhance its virtues.

Source - Science Daily


Monday, June 9, 2008

Scientifically Designed 'Butterfly Dress' Reveals What You Feel

You are at a party. And you are hoping to make an impression on the person who has just caught your eye. Unfortunately the butterflies in your stomach prevents you from speaking up. And people pass on wondering if you are a snob who doesn't believe in socializing. All you needed at that moment was an ice-breaker to open up a conversation.

The next time you attend a party, wear a Butterfly dress that's designed by Alex Reeder, a grad student at NYU. This dress can convey your feelings to the people around you. The Butterfly dress is aware of what's happening around the wearer and also knows the heartbeat of the wearer. Using the data the butterfly starts to flap its wings. It also rises to greet the person who approaches. A fashionable ice-breaker isn't it?

The dress that's made of white fabric houses the electronics and motor system.A switch is present for the wearer to easily turn the dress on and off. Once it is turned on the heartbeat of the wearer is monitored and eight IR sensors are used to track people moving around the wearer. As people approach the wearer, butterflies extend from the dress to surround her, and offer a friendly greeting.

Technology meets fashion in a beautiful way.Neither form nor function dominate in this creation. Each complement each other to create a beauty. The dress itself is light and does not sacrifice form for function. The battery and butterflies are removable, making the dress washable - essential for wearability.

This fantastic dress that combines fashion and technology also makes a cool philosophical statement about the way we interact with the world around us.

Related Links:
Source - Alex's site
Catch Alex Reeder's interview here.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Microfiber Fabric Creates Electricity, Uses Zinc Oxide Nanowires

Scientists have developed a microfiber fabric that generates its own electricity. The cloth makes enough current to recharge a cell phone or power a small MP3 player.

The fibers are coated with zinc oxide nanowires; one fiber is also coated with gold. When rubbed together, they generate electrical current. The shirt generates power as it moves, so a person walking or a slight breeze would create power. A 3 meter square piece of fabric is enough to power an iPod!

More from here

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Monday, April 14, 2008

EcoGlove Reusable Gloves, Uses Cold Plasma Sterilization

The makers of the humble disposable rubber gloves are turning “green”, with the introduction of the reusable EcoGlove.

EcoGlove chairman Patrick Hampe claimed that the gloves would be cheaper for end users, reduce the risk of latex and chemical allergies, and friendlier to Mother Nature.

After use, the new gloves would be reprocessed by its manufacturers – sanitised and checked for defects – before being repackaged and sent back to the users.

A machine using cold plasma technology sterilises the gloves, and as a quality control measure, Hampe said any one set of gloves are only allowed to be reused seven times.

With EcoGlove, Hampe said the carbon footprint would be reduced by 60%, as there would be almost zero wastage.

Hampe said Loprol is a formula that is almost free from proteins, which trigger latex allergies, while most chemical allergies are linked to nitrile gloves.

More from here

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Yasuo Kuniyoshi Smart Goggle Glasses Can Find Anything

We've all asked ourselves that irritating question: "Where on earth did I leave my car keys?"

A team of Japanese scientists claims to have come up with the answer, and the secretive artificial intelligence project code-named Smart Goggle does not stop at elusive keys!

With Yasuo Kuniyoshi's invention balanced on your nose, you will lose nothing. Simply tell the glasses what you are looking for and it will play into your eye a video of the last few seconds you saw that item.

Well, it's not magic, right? So how does it work?

Behind the goggles is an advanced object-recognition software and a computer that can learn the identity of new objects within seconds. So this is what you do, as a user: to start with, you wander around your house for about an hour "telling" the goggles the name of everything you see around you, as you fix your eyes on that object. So you essentially pronounce "coat hanger" when you are in front of the coat hanger and the word "kitchen sink" when you are in front of the kitchen sink - you get the idea. Once this process is over, the software using object recognition tech, stores the image of the object against the word you pronounced. Every time after that you move around your house, as and when that product is sighted by the goggles (though perhaps not perceived by you), its location is stored. And when you are at a loss one fine day as to where you left that product, all you need to do is to say the product name, and voila, the goggles tell you where you (rather, the goggles!) last saw it.

Sounds like a very sophisticated solution to a simple problem, but admit it, this simple problem can be at times most vexing, so who knows, the Smart Goggles could be a big hit!

You can read a bit more on this from here

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

iShoe - Motorized Shoes, Lightweight Transportation Device

With walking, driving, biking, Rollerblading and running, students can now add motorized shoes to their list of options to get around campus. Ilya Kaganovich recently developed the iShoe - described on the product's Web site as "a light weight transportation device for getting around the city, office complex or college campus.With constantly changing technology and increasing competition, a modern day inventor has a difficult process to undergo. Kaganovich said he worked on the shoes for 12 hours a day for about a month while spending the summer in New York.

The newest model weighs only 10 pounds with batteries built into the shoes, is able to go 20 mph and can be used outdoors and up hills.

Others are more skeptical of the practicality of the motorized shoes.

More from here

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Self-Mending Rubber Invented - Self-healing Properties Make it Suitable for Many Uses

Self-healing rubber that binds back together after being snapped or punctured could pave the way for self-healing shoes, fan belts, washing-up gloves and more. When the material melds together again, it has just as much strength as it had before, says Leibler, a polymer chemist at the Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution (ESPCI) in Paris, France.

The material could eventually make it a cinch to repair holes in shoes, snapped fan belts and punctured kitchen gloves. It might also make strange new products possible – for instance bags that can be ripped open and then resealed. Regular rubber gets its strength from the fact that long chains of polymer molecules are coupled, or "crosslinked," in three different ways: through covalent, ionic, and hydrogen bonding between molecules. The solution devised by Leibler and colleagues is to simply get rid of the ionic and covalent bonds. They developed a transparent, yellowy-brown rubber in which crosslinking is performed only by hydrogen bonds. The new substance self-heals when its surfaces are brought together under gentle compression, at room temperature.The material is synthesised from fatty acids and urea, which are cheap and renewable

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Nanowires Could Turn Your T-Shirts Into Nano-Power Stations

A nanotech invention by a US research team offers an intriguing glimpse of the future: slip on some nanowire-embedded clothes, plug your MP3 player or cellphone into them, and as you dance or walk around, your outfit generates enough power to run the gadget. More details on how the fabric works, and some nano-imagery after the jump. Professor Zhong Lin Wang and team of the Georgia Institute of Technology coated kevlar strands with zinc oxide nanowires, protecting the bushy wires with a polymer and adding gold to other fibers to act as a conductor. The piezoelectric power-generating action comes when the nanowires bend as two fibers rub together, translating bending of the material into electricity which flows along the gold fibers. Professor Wang says that across several square feet of fabric the nanowire fibers can generate power adding up to tens of milliwatts, which is not a huge amount, but is certainly enough for a dribble top-up charge for your portable devices. With a little more power, the idea could be great in smart fabrics for consumers, or even for medical or military use, but it's clearly an invention in its infancy.

More from here

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Speedo’s Hydrodynamic Swimsuit for the Beijing Olympics

Aerospace engineering techniques contributed to dramatic improvements in surface-friction and form drag associated with Speedo’s latest high-tech swimsuit.

In competitive swimming, where hundredths of a second can separate winners from losers, hydrodynamic drag really is a drag. So the world’s top swimmers now take to the water in drag-reducing suits that cover more skin, leaving the skimpy swimsuits to the sunbathers. Speedo yesterday launched the latest of these sleek racing suits, the FASTSKIN LZR Racer.

Speedo made a splash with its first FASTSKIN swimwear at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Made from a knitted biomemetic fabric designed to emulate the hydrodynamic characteristics of shark skin, these suits were worn in 80 percent of Sydney’s medal-winning performances. The technology in the LZR Racer, which will be worn by members of the U.S. Swim Team in the upcoming Beijing Olympics, makes FASTSKIN even faster.

Full report here

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Photo-switchable Nanofibers - Smart at the Flip of a Light Switch

Materials are made 'smart' when they are engineered to have properties that change in a controlled manner under the influence of external stimuli such as mechanical stress, temperature, humidity, electric charge, magnetic fields etc. Emerging nanotechnologies are now about to give scientists the tools to take smart materials to the next performance level. Another small building block towards smart materials was recently reported by Italian researchers who demonstrated photo-switchable nanofibers based on the reversible transformation between two molecular photochemical states, exhibiting different chemico-physical characteristics.

Full report here

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Smart Textiles, Wearable Devices - Sensors Make Clothes Clever

Clever clothes in a smart world

Pretty soon your gym gear will be more high tech than the groaning treadmill beneath you. Smart textiles and wearable devices can monitor your vital signs as you go about daily life. These clever clothes already exist and look set to find a market niche especially in elite sport and healthcare, say European researchers.

Tiny sensors woven into the fabric collect information about the wearer’s vital signs (respiration, heart rate, surface and core temperature) and movement, which can be monitored remotely using embedded GPRS transmitters.

Full story here

Related blogposts
Textronics gives Smart Textiles and fitness apparel a new dimension
Smart Clothes: Textiles That Track Your Health
UK firms lead the way in smart textiles and wearable electronics for use with iPods and mobile phone

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Luxury + Sustainability = Entermodal Leather Bags, Accessories

Luxury + Sustainability. Entermodal

The Entermodal philosophy originates from the idea that design can be a force for positive and meaningful change.” — Entermodal

Entermodal makes modern handcrafted leather bags, wallets, and accessories carried at Fred Segal and All Purpose in LA, Japan’s luxury emporium, Takashimaya, and Odin in New York, among others and featured in magazines like Details and Good.

Its designs are way too cool

See here for more

Related blogposts
Luxury + Sustainability. Entermodal

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

'Smart' Interactive Fitting Room Suggests What to Wear

A dressing room equipped with cameras and interactive displays could lead to intelligent fitting rooms that connect shoppers to a social fashion network, where they can see themselves and others wearing different outfits.

The system can help shoppers compare their dressing room choices before purchase and can suggest alternative styles. The program can also recommend other clothes available on the store's racks.

Interactive dressing rooms and social fashion networking are already a part of our society. A Prada store in New York City has a "Magic Mirror" that takes a video image of the shopper, which can then be sent via email or SMS to friends, who can reply with a thumbs up or down.

Really cool...full report here

Related blogposts
'Smart' Interactive Fitting Room Suggests What to Wear

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